Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging offers the advantages of multiplanar capabilities, physiologic as well as anatomic imaging, and some tissue specificity. Since mid-1985, we have performed more than 2,800 MR examinations of the spine, and gadolinium has been used as a contrast agent in many MR studies since its release by the Food and Drug Administration last year. Although MR imaging has been promoted as the procedure of choice for all clinical indications, on the basis of our experience myelography still plays an important role in the imaging of many spinal disorders, including disk disease. Some pathologic conditions such as intraspinal vascular malformations and leptomeningeal metastatic lesions are best imaged by myelography. MR studies have been most useful in evaluating intraspinal neoplasms, spinal cord parenchymal lesions, infections, congenital abnormalities, and "postoperative failed back syndromes."